Travel Writers Expanding Horizons Through Education

Written by Linda S. Hohnholz

Myrna L. Aguilar of South Gate, California, has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the SATW Foundation Paul Lasley Scholarship to attend the Travel Writers & Photographers Conference at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California. The August seminar focuses exclusively on travel.

“I’m honored to be the 2023 scholarship recipient,” said Aguilar on hearing that she’d been chosen. “I’m excited to learn more and to meet so many wonderful writers and see how I can contribute.”

In her essay about why travel matters, Aguilar spoke of how her immigrant parents worked to take her and her sister to the Grand Canyon and to San Diego to expand their horizons. “What I remember most. . .was how relaxed everyone was,” she wrote. “We were different people, almost like better versions of ourselves.”

The scholarship is designed to help writers who are new to travel writing, both by providing them with classroom experiences and networking opportunities.

It honors longtime SATW member Paul Lasley, who died in September 2021. Lasley, who served as SATW president and was also a board member of the SATW Foundation, a nonprofit association associated with SATW (Society of American Travel Writers), was widely known as a gregarious, accomplished storyteller who was eager to share his knowledge with newcomers to the craft. With his wife, Elizabeth Harryman Lasley, he produced and hosted radios shows for the American Forces Network, among other organizations. Their stories and advice on travel were broadcast to a million listeners in 167 countries.

“Paul would be so grateful for the SATW Foundation’s support for emerging travel communicators,” said Harryman Lasley. “And as a long-time Book Passage faculty member, he’d be proud of the scholarship advancing the foundation’s goals of supporting, sustaining and celebrating travel journalism.”

Book Passage, which describes itself as the “Bay Area’s liveliest bookstore,” offers a variety of events and classes for writers of all types. The travel writing and photography conference is in its 31st year. Noted travel editor and writer Don George is the conference chair, and Bob Holmes is the photography chair. Faculty members include print and digital writers as well as photographers.

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